Post a question about the assigned readings from the previous “Reading” week . The first post of the Participation week must be a question about the readings, Questions must show familiarity with the assigned readings and must be specific, not open-ended. Questions should also suggest a possible analysis of the reading or a line of inquiry to be developed by commentators. As a result, question posts should be at least paragraph length.
I only need a question in paragraph form in regards to chapters 1 and 2 of
*The Republic of Plato Book 1 and Book 2 (Book = Chapter)
Socrates: I went down to the Piraeus^ yesterday with Glaucon, son of Ariston,^ to pray to the goddess; and, at the same time, I wanted to ob-
serve how they would put on the festival,^ since they were now hold- ing it for the first time. Now, in my opinion, the procession of the native inhabitants was fine; but the one the Thracians conducted was no less
fitting a show. After we had prayed and looked on, we went off toward town.
Catching sight of us from afar as we were pressing homewards, Polemarchus, son of Cephalus, ordered his slave boy to run after us and
order us to wait for him. The boy took hold of my cloak from behind and said, "Polemarchus orders you to wait."
And I turned around and asked him where his master was. "He is coming up behind," he said, "just wait."
"Of course we'll wait," said Glaucon.
A moment later Polemarchus came along with Adeimantus, Glau- con's brother, Niceratus, son of Nicias, and some others—apparently from the procession. Polemarchus said, "Socrates, I guess you two are
hurrying to get away to town."
"That's not a bad guess," I said.
"Well, " he said, "do you see how many of us there are?
"Well, then," he said, "either prove stronger than these men or stay here."
socrates/polemarchus/glaucon/adeimantus/cephalus the RErUBLIC
227 c "Isn't there still one other possibility . . . ," I said, "our per-
suading you that you must let us go?"
"Could you really persuade," he said, "if we don't listen?" "There's no way," said Glaucon.
"Well, then, think it over, bearing in mind we won't listen."
328 a Then Adeimantus said, "Is it possible you don't know that at sun-
set there will be a torch race on horseback for the goddess?"
"On horseback?" I said. "That is novel. Will they hold torches and pass them to one another while racing the horses, or what do you
"That's it," said Polemarchus, "and, besides, they'll put on an all-
night festival that will be worth seeing. We'll get up after dinner and go
to see it; there we'll be together with many of the young men and we'll b talk. So stay and do as I tell you."
And Glaucon said, "It seems we must stay." "Well, if it is so resolved,"^ I said, "that's how we must act." Then we went to Polemarchus' home; there we found Lysias'^ and
Euthydemus, Polemarchus' brothers, and, in addition, Thrasymachus,^
the Chalcedonian and Charmantides, the Paeanian,^ and Cleito- phonji** the son of Aristonymus.
Cephalus,!! Polemarchus' father, was also at home; and he
c seemed very old to me, for I had not seen him for some time. He was seated on a sort of cushioned stool and was crowned with a wreath, for
he had just performed a sacrifice in the courtyard. We sat down beside him, for some stools were arranged in a circle there. As soon as Ceph-
alus saw me, he greeted me warmly and said: "Socrates, you don't come down to us in the Piraeus very often,
yet you ought to. Now if I still had the strength to make the trip to town easily, there would be no need for you to come here; rather we
d would come to you. As it is, however, you must come here more fre- quently. I want you to know that as the other pleasures, those con- nected with the body, wither away in me, the desires and pleasures that have to do with speeches grow the more. Now do as I say: be with these young men, but come here regularly to us as to friends and your very own kin."
"For my part, Cephalus, I am really delighted to discuss with the e very old," I said. "Since they are like men who have proceeded on a
certain road that perhaps we too will have to take, one ought, in my opinion, to learn from them what sort of road it is—^whether it is rough and hard or easy and smooth. From you in particular I should like to learn how it looks to you, for you are now at just the time of life the
[ 4 ]
Book 1 1 327c-330a socrates/cephalus
poets call 'the threshold of old age.''^ is it a hard time of life, or what 328 c
have you to report of it?"
"By Zeus, I shall tell you just how it looks to me, Socrates," he said. "Some of us who are about the same age often meet together and 329 a keep up the old proverb. '^^ Now then, when they meet, most of the members of our group lament, longing for the pleasures of youth and reminiscing about sex, about drinking bouts and feasts and all that goes
with things of that sort; they take it hard as though they were deprived
of something very important and had then lived well but are now not even alive. Some also bewail the abuse that old age receives from b relatives, and in this key they sing a refrain about all the evils old age
has caused them. But, Socrates, in my opinion these men do not put their fingers on the cause. For, if this were the cause, I too would have
suffered these same things insofar as they depend on old age and so
would everyone else who has come to this point in life. But as it is, I have encountered others for whom it was not so, especially Sophocles. I was once present when the poet was asked by someone, 'Sophocles, how are you in sex? Can you still have intercourse with a woman?' c 'Silence, man,' he said. 'Most joyfully did I escape it, as though I had
run away from a sort of frenzied and savage master.' I thought at the
time that he had spoken well and I still do. For, in every way, old age
brings great peace and freedom from such things. When the desires cease to strain and finally relax, then what Sophocles says comes to pass
in every way; it is possible to be rid of very many mad masters. But of d these things and of those that concern relatives, there is one just
cause: not old age, Socrates, but the character of the human beings. ^4
If they are orderly and content with themselves, ^^ even old age is only
moderately troublesome; if they are not, then both age, Socrates, and
youth alike turn out to be hard for that sort."
Then I was full of wonder at what he said and, wanting him to say still more, I stirred him up, saying: "Cephalus, when you say these e things, I suppose that the manyi^ do not accept them from you, but
believe rather that it is not due to character that you bear old age so
easily but due to possessing great substance. They say that for the rich
there are many consolations. '
"What you say is true," he said. "They do not accept them. And they do have something there, but not, however, quite as much as they think; rather, the saying of Themistocles holds good. When a Seriphian abused him—saying that he was illustrious not thanks to himself but 330 a thanks to the city—he answered that if he himself had been a Seriphian he would not have made a name, nor would that man have made one
CEPHALUS/SOCRATIES THE REPUBLIC
330 a had he been an Athenian. And the same argument also holds good for those who are not wealthy and bear old age with difficulty: the decent man would not bear old age with poverty very easily, nor would the one who is not a decent sort ever be content with himself even if he were wealthy."
"Cephalus," I said, "did you inherit or did you earn most of what
b "What do you mean, earned, Socrates!" he said. "As a money-
maker, I was a sort of mean between my grandfather and my father. For my grandfather, whose namesake I am, inherited pretty nearly as much substance as I now possess, and he increased it many times over. Lysanias, my father, used it to a point where it was still less than it is now. I am satisfied if I leave not less, but rather a bit more than I inherited, to my sons here."
"The reason I asked, you see," I said, "is that to me you didn't c seem overly fond of money. For the most part, those who do not make
money themselves are that way. Those who do make it are twice as at- tached to it as the others. For just as poets are fond of their poems and
fathers of their children, so money-makers too are serious about
money—as their own product; and they also are serious about it for the same reason other men are—for its use. They are, therefore, hard even to be with because they are willing to praise nothing but wealth."
"What you say is true," he said.
d "Indeed it is," I said. "But tell me something more. What do you suppose is the greatest good that you have enjoyed from possessing
"What I say wouldn't persuade many perhaps. For know well, Socrates," he said, "that when a man comes near to the realiza- tion that he will be making an end, fear and care enter him for things to
which he gave no thought before. The tales^^ told about what is in
Hades—that the one who has done unjust deeds^^ here must pay the e penalty there—at which he laughed up to then, now make his soul twist
and turn because he fears they might be true. Whether it is due to the debility of old age, or whether he discerns something more of the things in that place because he is already nearer to them, as it were—he is, at any rate, now full of suspicion and terror; and he reckons up his ac- counts and considers whether he has done anything unjust to anyone.
Now, the man who finds many unjust deeds in his life often even wakes from his sleep in a fright as children do, and lives in anticipation of
evil. To the man who is conscious in himself of no unjust deed, sweet 331 a and good hope is ever beside him—a nurse of his old age, as Pindar
puts it. For, you know, Socrates, he put it charmingly when he said that whoever lives out a just and holy life
Book 1 1 330a-332a cephalus/socrates/polemarchus
Sweet hope accompanies, 331 a Fostering his heart, a nurse of his old age,
Hope which most of all pilots
The ever-turning opinion of mortals.
How very wonderfully well he says that. For this I count the possession of money most wroth-while, not for any man, but for the decent and or- derly one. The possession of money contributes a great deal to not b cheating or lying to any man against one's will, and, moreover, to not departing for that other place frightened because one owes some sacrifices to a god or money to a human being. It also has many other uses. But, still, one thing reckoned against another, I wouldn't count
this as the least thing, Socrates, for which wealth is very useful to an in-
telligent man. "
"What you say is very fine'^ indeed, Cephalus," I said. "But as c
to this very thing, justice, shall we so simply assert that it is the truth and giving back what a man has taken from another, or is to do these very things sometimes just and sometimes unjust? Take this case as an
example of what I mean: everyone would surely say that if a man takes weapons from a friend when the latter is of sound mind, and the friend demands them back when he is mad, one shouldn't give back such things, and the man who gave them back would not be just, and moreover, one should not be willing to tell someone in this state the
"What you say is right," he said. d "Then this isn't the definition of justice, speaking the truth and
giving back what one takes."
"It most certainly is, Socrates," interrupted Polemarchus, "at least
if Simonides should be believed at all."
"Well, then, " said Cephalus, "I hand down the argument to you, for it's already time for me to look after the sacrifices.
"Am I not the heir of what belongs to you?" said Polemarchus. 20
"Certainly," he said and laughed. And with that he went away to the sacrifices. 21
"Tell me, you, the heir of the argument, " I said, "what was it Si- e
monides said about justice that you assert he said correctly?
"That it is just to give to each what is owed," he said. "In saying
this he said a fine thing, at least in my opinion. "
"Well, it certainly isn't easy to disbelieve a Simonides,' I said.
"He is a wise and divine man. However, you, Polemarchus, perhaps know what on earth he means, but I don't understand. For plainly he doesn't mean what we were just saying—giving back to any man what- soever something he has deposited when, of unsound mind, he demands
it. And yet, what he deposited is surely owed to him, isn't it?" 332 a
POLEMARCHUS/SOCRATES THE REPUBLIC
332 a "Yes."
"But, when of unsound mind he demands it, it should under no condition be given back to him?"
"True," he said.
"Then Simonides, it seems, means something different from this
sort of thing when he says that it is just to give back what is owed." "Of course it's different, by Zeus," he said. "For he supposes that
friends owe it to friends to do some good and nothing bad."
"I understand," I said. "A man does not give what is owed in giv- ing back gold to someone who has deposited it, when the giving and the
b taking turn out to be bad, assuming the taker and the giver are
friends. Isn't this what you assert Simonides means?"
"Now, what about this? Must we give back to enemies whatever is owed to them?"
"That's exactly it," he said, "just what's owed to them. And I suppose that an enemy owes his enemy the very thing which is also fitting: some harm."
"Then, " I said, "it seems that Simonides made a riddle, after the c fashion of poets, when he said what the just is. For it looks as if he
thought that it is just to give to everyone what is fitting, and to this he
gave the name 'what is owed. "
"What else do you think?" he said.
"In the name of Zeus," I said, "if someone were to ask him, 'Simonides, the ait^ called medicine gives what that is owed and
fitting to which things?' what do you suppose he would answer us?"
"It's plain," he said, "drugs, foods and drinks to bodies."
"The art called cooking gives what that is owed and fitting to
d "Seasonings to meats. "
"All right. Now then, the art that gives what to which things would be called justice?"
"If the answer has to be consistent with what preceded, Socrates,"
he said, "the one that gives benefits and harms to friends and enemies."
"Does he mean that justice is doing good to friends and harm
"In my opinion." "With respect to disease and health, who is most able to do good
to sick friends and bad to enemies? "
Book 1 1 332a-333c socrates/polemarchus
"And with respect to the danger of the sea, who has this power 332 e over those who are saihng?"
"And what about the just man, in what action and with respect to
what work is he most able to help friends and harm enemies?"
"In my opinion it is in making war and being an ally in battle." "All right. However, to men who are not sick, my friend Polemar-
chus, a doctor is useless."
"And to men who are not sailing, a pilot.
"Then to men who are not at war, is the just man useless?" "Hardly so, in my opinion." "Then is justice also useful in peacetime?"
"It is useful." 333 a
"And so is farming, isn't it?"
"For the acquisition of the fruits of the earth?"
"And, further, is shoemaking also useful?"
"You would say, I suppose, for the acquisition of shoes?"
"What about justice then? For the use or acquisition of what
would you say it is useful in peacetime?"
"Do you mean by contracts, partnerships, ^^ or something else?" "Partnerships, of course."
"Then is the just man a good and useful partner in setting down b draughts, or is it the skilled player of draughts
"The skilled player of draughts."
"In setting down bricks and stones, is the just man a more useful and better partner than the housebuilder?"
"Not at all."
"But in what partnership then is the just man a better partner than the harp player, just as the harp player is better than the just man when one has to do with notes?"
"In money matters, in my opinion." "Except perhaps in using money, Polemarchus, when a horse
must be bought or sold with money in partnership; then, I suppose, the expert on horses is a better partner. Isn't that so?
POLEMABCHUS/SOCRATES THE REPUBLIC
333 c "It looks like it."
"And, further, when it's a ship, the shipbuilder or pilot is better?"
"It seems so."
"Then, when gold or silver must be used in partnership, in what
case is the just man more useful than the others?" "When they must be deposited and kept safe, Socrates." "Do you mean when there is no need to use them, and they are
d "Is it when money is useless that justice is useful for it?"
"I'm afraid so."
"And when a pruning hook must be guarded, justice is useful both
in partnership and in private; but when it must be used, vine-cul- ture."
"It looks like it."
"Will you also assert that when a shield and a lyre must be guarded and not used, justice is useful; but when they must be used, the soldier's art and the musician's art are useful?"
"And with respect to everything else as well, is justice useless in the use of each and useful in its uselessness?"
"I'm afraid so."
e "Then justice, my friend, wouldn't be anything very serious, if it is useful for useless things. Let's look at it this way. Isn't the man who is cleverest at landing a blow in boxing, or any other kind of fight, also the one cleverest at guarding against it?"
"And whoever is clever at guarding against disease is also
cleverest at getting away with producing it?" "In my opinion, at any rate." "And, of course, a good guardian of an army is the very same man
334 a who can also steal the enemy's plans and his other dispositions?" "Certainly."
"So of whatever a man is a clever guardian, he is also a clever thief?"
"It seems so."
"So that if a man is clever at guarding money, he is also clever at stealing it?"
"So the argument's indicates at least," he said.
"The just man, then, as it seems, has come to light as a kind of robber, and I'm afraid you learned this from Homer. For he admires
b Autolycus, Odysseus' grandfather'^ on his mother's side, and says he
[ 10 ]
Book 1 1 333c-335a socrates/polemarchus
surpassed all men 'in stealing and in swearing oaths.' Justice, then, 334 b seems, according to you and Homer and Simonides, to be a certain art of stealing, for the benefit, to be sure, of friends and the harm of ene-
mies. Isn't that what you meant?"
"No, by Zeus," he said. "But I no longer know what I did mean. However, it is still my opinion that justice is helping friends and harming enemies.
"Do you mean by friends those who seem to be good to an in- c dividual, or those who are, even if they don't seem to be, and similarly with enemies?"
"It's likely, " he said, "that the men one believes to be good, one loves, while those he considers bad one hates."
"But don't human beings make mistakes about this, so that many seem to them to be good although they are not, and vice versa?
"They do make mistakes.
"So for them the good are enemies and the bad are friends? "
"But nevertheless it's still just for them to help the bad and harm
the good?" d
"It looks like it."
"Yet the good are just and such as not to do injustice?
"Then, according to your argument, it's just to treat badly men who have done nothing unjust?
"Not at all, Socrates," he said. "For the argument seems to be
"Then, after all," I said, "it's just to harm the unjust and help the
"This looks finer than what we just said." "Then for many, Polemarchus—all human beings who make
mistakes—it will turn out to be just to harm friends, for their friends e are bad; and just to help enemies, for they are good. So we shall say the very opposite of what we asserted Simonides means."
"It does really turn out that way, " he said. "But let's change what
we set down at the beginning. For I'm afraid we didn't set down the definition of friend and enemy correctly."
"How did we do it, Polemarchus?" "We set dovwi that the man who seems good is a friend.
"Now," I said, "how shall we change it?" "The man who seems to be, and is, good, is a friend," he said,
"while the man who seems good and is not, seems to be but is not a 335 a friend. And we'll take the same position about the enemy."
[ 11 ]
SOCRATES/POLEMARCHUS THE REPUBLIC
335 a "Then the good man, as it seems, will by this argument be a
friend, and the good-for-nothing man an enemy?" "Yes."
"You order us to add something to what we said at first about the just. Then we said that it is just to do good to the friend and bad to the enemy, while now we are to say in addition that it is just to do good to the friend, if he is good, and harm to the enemy, if he is bad."
b "Most certainly," he said. "Said in that way it would be fine in my opinion."
"Is it, then," I said, "the part of a just man to harm any human being whatsoever?"
"Certainly," he said, "bad men and enemies ought to be harmed." "Do horses that have been harmed become better or worse?" "Worse."
"With respect to the virtue^^ of dogs or to that of horses?"
"With respect to that of horses."
"And when dogs are harmed, do they become worse with respect to the virtue of dogs and not to that of horses?"
c "Should we not assert the same of human beings, my comrade
that when they are harmed, they become worse with respect to human virtue?"
"But isn't justice human virtue?" "That's also necessary."
"Then, my friend, human beings who have been harmed necessarily become more unjust.
"It seems so."
"Well, are musicians able to make men unmusical by music?" "Impossible."
"Are men skilled in horsemanship able to make men incompetent riders by horsemanship?"
"That can't be. "
"But are just men able to make others unjust by justice, of all d things? Or, in sum, are good men able to make other men bad by vir-
"For I suppose that cooling is not the work of heat, but of its op-
"Nor wetting the work of dryness but of its opposite."
[ 12 ]
Book 1 1 335a-336d socrates/polemarchus/thrasymachus
"Nor is harming, in fact, the work of the good but of its opposite." 335 d "It looks like it."
"And it's the just man who is good?" "Certainly.
"Then it is not the work of the just man to harm either a friend or anyone else, Polemarchus, but of his opposite, the unjust man."
"In my opinion, Socrates," he said, "what you say is entirely true."
"Then if someone asserts that it's just to give what is owed to each e man—and he understands by this that harm is owed to enemies by the just man and help to friends—the man who said it was not wise. For he wasn't telling the truth. For it has become apparent to us that it is never just to harm anyone."
"I agree," he said.
"We shall do battle then as partners, you and I," I said, "if someone asserts that Simonides, or Bias, or Pittacus^ or any other
wise and blessed man said it." "I, for one," he said, "am ready to be your partner in the battle.
"Do you know," I said, "to whom, in my opinion, that saying 336 a belongs which asserts that it is just to help friends and harm ene- mies?"
"To whom?" he said. "I suppose it belongs to Periander, or Perdiccas, or Xerxes, or
Ismenias the Theban,^^ or some other rich man who has a high opinion of what he can do."
"What you say is very true," he said.
"All right," I said, "since it has become apparent that neither
justice nor the just is this, what else would one say they are?"
Now Thrasymachus had many times started out to take over the b argument in the midst of our discussion, but he had been restrained by
the men sitting near him, who wanted to hear the argument out. But when we paused and I said this, he could no longer keep quiet; hunched up like a wild beast, he flung himself at us as if to tear us
to pieces. Then both Polemarchus and I got all in a flutter from fright.
And he shouted out into our midst and said, "What is this nonsense that has possessed you for so long, Socrates? And why do you act like c fools making way for one another? If you truly want to know what the just is, don't only ask and gratify your love of honor by refuting
whatever someone answers—you know that it is easier to ask than to answer—but answer yourself and say what you assert the just to be. And see to it you don't tell me that it is the needful, or the helpful, d or the profitable, or the gainful, or the advantageous; but tell me
[ 13 ]
336 d clearly and precisely what you mean, for I ' won't accept it if you say such inanities."
I was astounded when I heard him, and, looking at him, I was frightened. I think that if I had not seen him before he saw me, I would have been speechless.^" As it was, just when he began to be ex- asperated by the argument, I had looked at him first, so that I was able
e to answer him; and with just a trace of a tremor, I said: "Thrasyma- chus, don't be hard on us. If we are making any mistake in the con- sideration of the arguments, Polemarchus and I, know well that we're making an unwilling mistake. If we were searching for gold we would never willingly make way for one another in the search and ruin our chances of finding it; so don't suppose that when we are seeking for justice, a thing more precious than a great deal of gold, we would ever foolishly give in to one another and not be as serious as we can be about bringing it to light. Don't you suppose that, my friend! Rather, as I suppose, we are not competent. So it's surely far more fitting for us to
337 a be pitied by you clever men than to be treated harshly." He listened, burst out laughing very scornfully, and said,
"Heracles! Here is that habitual irony of Socrates. I knew it, and I pre- dicted to these fellows that you wouldn't be willing to answer, that
you would be ironic and do anything rather than answer if someone
asked you something."
"That's because you are wise, Thrasymachus," I said. "Hence you knew quite well that if you asked someone how much twelve is and in
b asking told him beforehand, 'See to it you don't tell me, you human being, that it is two times six, or three times four, or six times two, or four times three; I won't accept such nonsense from you'—it was plain to you, I suppose, that no one would answer a man who asks in this way. And if he asked, 'Thrasymachus, what do you mean? Shall I answer none of those you mentioned before? Even if it happens to be one of these, shall I say something other than the truth, you surprising
c man? Or what do you mean?'—what would you say to him in re- sponse?"
"Very well," he said, "as if this case were similar to the other." "Nothing prevents it from being," I said. "And even granting that
it's not similar, but looks like it is to the man who is asked, do you think he'll any the less answer what appears to him, whether we forbid him to or not?"
"Well, is that what you are going to do?" he said. "Are you going to give as an answer one of those I forbid?"
"I shouldn't be surprised," I said, "if that were my opinion upon consideration."
[ 14 i
Book I …
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